I recently attended a webinar from AARP on how to “Age-Proof Your Career”. The webinar was a Q&A format where participants were able to simply ask questions and get answers. As someone who listens to a lot of webinars, I thought it was a refreshing format.
Many of the questions that were asked had to do with resumes. I’ve written quite a bit about resumes over on HR Bartender. I won’t duplicate them over here. But in case you’d like to check them out, here are a few of the most popular ones:
But the focus of this webinar was specifically about “age-proofing”. Let me start out by pointing out the elephant in the room. The last thing you want to do is lie on your application or resume. So, don’t even consider it. Not even stretching the truth a little. Your resume is a reflection of you. Don’t put anything on it that you can’t back up. Your credibility is much too important.
Now, down to the business of age-proofing, I did hear some interesting tips to consider. These things don’t compromise the integrity of your resume and could help you stand out in a stack of paper.
- Figure out your “objective”.The panelists in this AARP seminar made it a point to say resume objectives are very “old school”. From a HR perspective, we’ve been debating the value of a resume objective for years. So, I’m not sure that it’s old school as much as it needs to be valuable. Badly worded objectives stand out for all of the wrong reasons. The decision is yours. But one thing to consider, whether you have an objective on your resume or not, you will be asked during an interview what your career objective is…so have a good one.
- Consider how much work history to include. I think this is an excellent tip to remember as we gain more work experience. While AARP suggests only including the last 15-years on your resume, I’d suggest taking a look at your career history and decide what’s most relevant for the position you want. If something you accomplished 20-years ago can help you get a job today, then consider including it. But do remember that being succinct is important. Resumes that are more than 2-pages long can be pushed to the side.
- Only include relevant dates. As you gain more work experience, there are dates that don’t matter as much. Like the year you graduated from high school or college. Or the date you won some company award. It might not be possible to eliminate dates completely. That’s where #2 above comes in. It’s also possible that you will need to enter dates if applying online via the company’s website.
- Embrace your profile image. It might be tempting as we age to remove all signs of our face. Keep in mind that at some point, a potential employer is going to meet you. So, in those places where it’s expected to have an avatar, think about what you want yours to look like. As long as you’re working, having a professional photo can be a huge plus.
- Build a presence on social media. Speaking of avatars, ninety-two percent (92%) of companies use social media to hire. Job seekers cannot ignore social media if they’re looking for a job. This doesn’t mean that someone needs to be on every social media platform out there. But do consider the top three: LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. (Check out our 5-Step Plan for Learning Facebook.)
- Use a modern email address. Last but certainly not least, it’s time to ditch the AOL, HotMail, and Yahoo email addresses. If you want to use them for other things, fine. But not for today’s job search. AARP suggests (and I agree with them), get a Gmail or Apple mail address. Use some variation of your name.
While doing these things can’t guarantee anyone a job, they are in line with today’s modern resume. And that’s what you’re looking for – a way to compete for a job. Your goal as a job seeker hasn’t changed. Just the tactics.
Image captured from Sharlyn Lauby’s first book – Essential Meeting Blueprints for Managers